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Entries for 'Gary Pearce'

07
Somehow it’s right that Jack passed away at election time. His life revolved around election days. I suspect Pat McCrory would be a better governor if he had listened more to Jack this year. I know politics won’t be as much fun with him gone.

 

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06
Remember when George W. Bush ran as a “compassionate conservative” in 2000? Ted Cruz could run in 2016 as a “cruel conservative.”
 
The distance between the two Texans shows how far right the Republican Party has gone, thanks to the Tea Party. It’s a hell of a thing when Bush looks good in hindsight.
 
Carter says that 70 percent of Republicans call themselves “conservatives.” Not moderates, not mainstream, but conservative. Presumably, they don’t share other Americans’ antipathy to the Tea Party.
 
Given that 70 percent, how can Chris Christie be the nominee in 2016? Even assuming he overcomes temperament issues and questions about his health, how can any Republican with any hint of “moderate” win a Tea Party gauntlet in the debates and primaries?
 
Republicans like Cruz – and the North Carolina legislature – are on a mission to rid the party and the nation of any compassion whatsoever for people who aren’t rich, white, old and male. They turn on anyone, like a Mitch McConnell, who won’t meet their ever-rising ransom demands.
 
Now the Karl Rove-Chamber of Commerce wing of the party is fighting back. They are putting money behind candidates running against Tea Partiers. There is talk of business-backed GOP primary challenges in North Carolina.
 
Myself, I’m pulling for Cruz and the Tea Party to pull the GOP right over the cliff.

 

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05
Some Democrats fear – and Carter sincerely hopes – that the Rev. William Barber will become the face of the Democratic Party.
 
But ponder this: If Barber can inspire thousands of people to protest on “Moral Mondays” – and 900 of them to get arrested – how many people can he inspire to the polls a year from now?
 
Ned Barnett put it this way in Sunday’s N&O: “Is there deep enough discontent to produce a tidal wave for change during a typically low-turnout mid-term election?”
 
Conventional wisdom and history tell us that voter turnout in off-years tends to be whiter and older. But there is a hot streak of anger this year running through the segments of the electorate that are younger, darker, more urban and more progressive. For one thing, they don’t like politicians trying to keep them from voting.
 
Anger fueled the Tea Party’s rise in 2009. A backlash against Obama led to the 2010 GOP sweep.
 
Now the anger is on the other side. It led thousands to protest publicly. It led school teachers to stage a “walk-in.”
 
Yes, things could cool off in a year. Or get hotter.

 

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04
If Terry McAuliffe wins the Virginia governor’s race, Democrats might want to rethink this campaign finance thing.
 
Public Policy Polling’s final poll shows McAuliffe winning 50-43. But here are the numbers that caught my eye: McAuliffe leads in fundraising $34.4 million to $19.7 million.
 
The New York Times reported, “Armed with a much larger war chest, Mr. McAuliffe has battered his opponent, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, with a barrage of negative ads and has put himself in a position that would have surprised many Democrats just a year ago: ahead in the polls just two days from the election.”
 
McAuliffe is as well-connected a Democrat as there is in the country. He’s best friends with Bill, Hillary and Barack. He’s a former DNC chairman. He’s raised and given money all over the country. So he has a lot of IOUs to cash.
 
Also, Virginia has a no-limits, no-holds barred campaign finance system. One donor gave McAuliffe’s campaign a half-million dollars.
 
Democrats fear the U.S. Supreme Court will strike down limits on how much donors can give a campaign. Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad, Democrats. Especially at a time when Tea Party candidates are scaring Chamber of Commerce/business donors.

 

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01
Whatever else it does, Obamacare drives Republicans into a frenzy of hype, hypocrisy, irrationality and overreaction.
 
Exhibit A: Republicans in Congress are outraged that website glitches prevent Americans from signing up for a program Republicans compare to slavery. Why are they complaining? They should take a cue from George Holding, take a nap and chill out.
 
Exhibit B: Republican governors who probably know better (like Pat McCrory and unlike Ohio’s John Kasich) reject Medicaid expansion, even though it would help millions of Americans and save hundreds of millions of dollars. Politically, the governors have no choice. They’re terrified of the Tea Party.
 
Exhibit C: Obamacare is a classic Republican policy, hatched by the Heritage Foundation, once championed by Newt Gingrich and put into law (no matter how much he denies it) by Mitt Romney.
 
How is it a Republican policy? Well, it starts by saying: no more free ride; everybody has to get insurance. The rest of us don’t have to pay all your medical bills. (See: “takers.”)
 
Obamacare achieves that goal through another thing Republicans should like: the free market. Instead of government providing the insurance (which would be “socialism” like Medicare) you have to buy insurance from an insurance company.
 
Finally, expanding Medicaid means people can afford to get primary and preventative care, which is cheaper, instead of waiting until they’re really sick and going to the emergency room, which is really expensive – and we all end up paying for.
 
We have national health insurance now. Your taxes, insurance premiums and medical bills already have a hidden surcharge that pays the bills for people who don’t have insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
 
If Obamacare fails, the logical next step is to put everybody on Medicaid/Medicare. I half-jokingly suggested that in a blog last week. Then two conservatives said the same thing: Marc Landry in the N&O and Ross Douthat in The New York Times. (Needless to say, I’m reconsidering my position.)
 
All this shows how Obama Derangement Syndrome is driving the Republican Party farther and farther to the right – and farther out of touch with more Americans. Now, Democrats have plenty of problems, but they look much more rational right now than Republicans.

 

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31
If Democrats want to come back in North Carolina, they need to avoid their usual mistake of thinking it’s all about the issues.
 
It’s in Democrats’ DNA to do that. We’re issues people. We care a lot about things like Medicaid expansion, Common Core curriculum, growth strategies and infrastructure.
 
It’s not that voters don’t care. But they easily figure out which party is with them on issues.
 
What swings swing voters is character. That’s why negative ads and mailers work. They raise questions about politicians’ character, credibility, judgment and honesty. Swing voters ultimately vote for the candidate they trust most – or against the candidate they trust least.
 
Democrats will not beat Governor McCrory on Medicaid expansion. They can beat him for saying one thing and doing another. Like promising to do away with cronyism, then setting up a political patronage system. Like promising to cut “waste and fraud” in Medicaid, then paying two 24-year-olds $87,000 to help run Medicaid.
 
That’s about character, integrity and trust.
 
You won’t beat Republican legislators on a particular issue, but you can beat them on being mean, vindictive and uncaring to teachers, women, minorities, young people and anybody who’s having hard economic times.
 
Some Democrats get it. Like President Obama. His campaign relentlessly portrayed Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat with contempt for average folks.
 
Too many Democrats are like the fine candidate who had some serious image problems with voters, but just knew they’d come around when they heard his job-training ideas. Suffice it to say the voters were able to restrain their enthusiasm.

 

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30
Carter likes to say that politics is an exercise in human folly and error. Both parties seem set on proving it in Washington.
 
A few weeks ago, President Obama’s job ratings fell when the news was focused on Syria. But Washington Republicans came to his rescue. They shut down the government. Everybody forgot about Syria.
 
Now it was the Republicans’ turn to get whacked. Their ratings plunged as the shutdown dragged on. Obama’s ratings rose – not because of anything he did, but because he looked better than the Republicans.
 
Finally, Republicans surrendered on the shutdown. The spotlight immediately turned to Obamacare’s botched rollout. Once again, Obama has been taking the hits.
 
Not to worry. Congressional Republicans are riding to the rescue. They’re working themselves into a frothing frenzy attacking Obamacare. They look like hypocrites, complaining about problems implementing a law they worked so hard – in Washington and the states – to sabotage. Plus, they don’t realize how mean and hateful they look to voters who don’t suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome.
 
Politicians, especially in Congress, are incapable of just shutting up when silence would be the best strategy. An old political maxim says, “When your opponent is shooting himself in the foot, get out of the line of fire.”

 

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29
What’s the over/under on how many bad headlines and headaches will come from Governor McCrory’s plan to shift job recruitment from the N.C. Department of Commerce to a new “public-private nonprofit corporation”?
 
The N&O’s Rob Christensen reported that similar partnerships across the country have been criticized for “misuse of taxpayer money, conflicts of interest, excessive executive pay, and little public accountability.”
 
Sounds like an investigative journalist’s dream.
 
Sounds like exactly what has come out of McCrory’s drive to fix the “broken” Medicaid system.
 
Doesn’t the Governor have somebody him sounding the alarm on these things? Somebody who says: “Governor, remember what we said about the Rural Development Center? They’re going to say the same thing about this. And probably about the time 2016 rolls around.”
 
A historical note: Lt. Governor Bob Jordan proposed a public-private effort like this in 1988, when he ran against Governor Jim Martin. Governor Martin said then it was the worst idea he could imagine.

 

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28
We all are shocked – shocked, I say – that Governor McCrory and the Republican Party are putting political cronies in state jobs. Like that has never happened before.
 
I’m reminded of the Jim Hunt supporter who wanted to get a state job for a local boy. The Governor’s patronage chief, Joe Pell, asked, “Is he qualified?” The supporter said, “Hell, Joe, if he was qualified we wouldn’t need you down here.”
 
But here is the catch: Governor McCrory promised to hold himself and his administration to a higher standard. He promised to do away with the old crony-ridden, “good old boy and good old girl” system. No more politics as usual, he said.
 
Yes, he could say, “Everybody did it.” But the fact remains: He broke his promise.

 

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25
Republicans couldn’t defund Obamacare, and Democrats seemingly can’t defend it. Some states (where there’s competition) are seeing lower insurance rates, and some (where Republicans blocked competition) are having sticker shock.
 
Nobody understands what Obamacare is, but everybody understands a website that won’t work, so we’re obsessing about that.
 
Maybe we’re overcomplicating this. Maybe there’s a simpler way to fix the whole system.
 
One thing seems to work: Medicare. It works so well that everybody on it is ready to throttle anybody who tinkers with it.
 
So why don’t we just put everybody – everybody, regardless of age – on Medicare?
 
Why go through the agony and confusion of “reform”? Why try to fix a broken system? Why not just throw out what everybody seems to hate and replace it with what everybody seems to like?
 
I don’t mind if you disagree. Soon, I’ll be on Medicare. And it looks good. I just thought I’d give you the same opportunity.

 

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